Advertisement

What can we expect from the Covid situation in Austria this autumn?

The Local Austria
The Local Austria - [email protected]
What can we expect from the Covid situation in Austria this autumn?
Tissues on a table. The number of Covid cases have been increasing lately. Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

The number of Covid infections has been rising in Austria recently. Austria's Health Minister Johannas Rauch has spoken out about what to expect this autumn and winter.

Advertisement

During the Covid pandemic, Austria had tough restrictions that affected the population as hospitals struggled with a rising number of patients. 

Thankfully the situation is nowhere near as critical as it once was, although the number of Covid infections has been rising lately. 

Austria's Health Minister Johannes Rauch, of the Greens, on Monday assured people that there was no reason to worry, although he raised concerns about the progress of Covid vaccinations in Austria. 

"We have a better overview today than a year ago," said Rauch during a press briefing on the Covid situation, adding that this is due to Austria significantly expanding its monitoring system in recent months.

For instance, wastewater monitoring has been expanded to 48 sewage treatment plants, covering more than half of the Austrian population. Genomic sequencing evaluates wastewater samples as well as Covid tests from doctors in private practice and shows the circulating virus variants.

Rauch added that the government has a dashboard that provides "a precise overview of what is happening in the hospitals".

The Health Minister said Covid was currently "trending upwards", while other respiratory diseases have actually decreased.

Authorities are set to watch closely at what happens to the development of Covid and other viruses as the months get colder.

Hospitals won't be overburdened

Rauch said authorities are optimistic that the Covid situation in hospitals will not deteriorate to levels previously seen. 

"From what we know now and how we assess it, we don't expect an overload of hospitals," Rauch said. "We have a good overview of what has been happening in the southern hemisphere this winter. These are indicators that we don't currently have to worry about running into an overload situation."

However, he pointed out that reports of people having to wait some time in Austria to get a Covid vaccination, which has been adapted to the new variants, are concerning. 

READ ALSO: What are Austria's new Covid and RSV vaccine recommendations?

Advertisement

Rauch said Austria may follow other European countries and introduce Covid jabs in pharmacies to speed up availability. 

"In Austria, we have a large number of pharmacies that would be quite capable of offering this," said Rauch. "If it doesn't work in the general practice sector, we will organise it there."

Austria has been recommending that people over 60 and risk groups get a Covid booster vaccine, the same advice as for the flu jab. 

However, when to get it should be discussed with your doctor, urged Rauch.

"Talk to your doctor about your personal time window, when is a booster vaccination necessary, due and appropriate," he said. "Take advantage of this, get advice."

On the topic of mask mandates, which were previously in force in Austria at different times in the pandemic, Rauch said at the moment mandatory face coverings are not being considered. 

However, it could return in certain areas. "There is the possibility for hospitals and surgeries to enact a mask requirement in their house rules, which must then be complied with," said Rauch. 

More

Comments

Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also